When I opened my eyes I was laying down on the floor of the Starbucks with at least five faces peering down at me. Jimmy’s was the only one I recognised.
“Call an ambulance.” He exclaimed looking up for a moment.
“No.” I groaned. “I’m okay.”
“Ruby, you just fainted. That isn’t fine.” He drawled.
I closed my eyes and scrunched my face up. “Just take me to the doctor then. We don’t need an ambulance.” The floor was cold beneath me, and despite my embarrassment it was kind of refreshing.
“Ugh. Fine.” He exclaimed.
I opened my eyes, staring up at the faces once more. “I think I can get back up.”
I nodded and held my arms up, they felt heavy, my whole body did. I hadn’t been taken care of myself and my body was rebelling against me because of it. I had to swallow my pride and accept help, even if the news was bad.
Jimmy and another patron helped me to my feet. Jimmy led me to a chair and then organised an uber to collect us from the Starbucks. A waitress brought me a glass of ice water while we waited. Jimmy tapped his fingers on table and shook his head.
“When was the last time you ate.”
“Yesterday. I had a slice of toast.”
“And that was it?” He replied
“I haven’t been feeling well. I haven’t wanted to eat.”
Jimmy pulled his phone out. He tapped furiously on the screen before locking it and shoving it back in his pocket.
“Not eating is dangerous Ruby. No wonder you fainted.”
“Spare me the lecture. I know, I just physically can’t eat. I want to, but the thought of food… it makes me feel ill.” I shot back. “I think there is something wrong.”
I shook my head and looked away. I didn’t want to vocalize my thoughts. I didn’t want to say that on top of everything else I was sick, like my Dad had been.
The uber arrived a few minutes later and Jimmy helped me outside and into the car.
“So to Worthington Hospital sir?” The driver exclaimed as Jimmy sat beside me and closed the door.
“What? No?” I replied.
“Yes. Thanks.” Jimmy said, as soon as I’d finished speaking.
“You fainted in a store in broad daylight. You’re going to the hospital… you declined the ambulance, so I’ve compromised. But you’re still going to the hospital.” Jimmy said in a demanding tone. It wasn’t like him to be bossy. I’d obviously really freaked him out.
I sighed and gave in. If it meant he’d calm his tits, then fine.
Of course the moment the uber stopped outside the hospital cold fear ran right through my heart, dropping down nto the pit of my stomach. Jimmy hopped out and ran to the door where the wheelchairs were. If I hadn’t felt so weak I’d have stood up and walked, but my body still felt like my veins had been filled with concrete. Jimmy returned and helped me into the chair.
“Jimmy, I’m fine. I’m just stressed out and not sleeping enough. I don’t need to be here.” I reasoned, trying to escape my fate. He didn’t listen, and continued to wheel me into the emergency room. God I hated hospitals with a passion. They reminded me of loss, of sickness. They reminded me of all the symptoms I’d been having. What if I was…. Sick like my father had been.
“You fainted in starbucks.” He replied. “I don’t consider that fine. Like I said.”
“People faint all the time.” I diverted.
“Maybe, but you’re getting checked out.” He exclaimed.
I was assessed by a nurse pretty swiftly and wheeled me into a singular room.
“The doctor will be in shortly.” She smiled softly as she left the room.
“I hate hospitals.” I croaked once she was gone.
“I can tell.” Jimmy replied with a sympathetic smile. “Uh, don’t be angry, but I… I let him know.”
I closed my eyes. I knew by ‘him’ he meant Tobias.
“Why.” I whispered. “We broke up Jimmy.”
He broke up with me. It had only been two weeks, two long arduous weeks. Seeing him at work had been bad enough. Pretending everything was okay, when it very clearly wasn’t.
“Because he cares. Despite what he says.”
“I really wish you hadn’t.”
There was a cough from behind me, and I turned. Tobias stood there, his icy eyes were on me, boring holes through my hot skin. I swallowed hard. Would I ever not be affected by him? His soft pink lips pulled into a tight grimace and he lifted his hand to graze his cheeks where the hint of a five o’clock shadow had began. He looked away from me, back at Jimmy and nodded.
“How did you get in here.” I scathed.
“They know who I am. As far as the public are concerned we are still.” He stopped speaking. I frowned, annoyed that he had used his celebrity to manipulate the situation. “I told Jimmy to keep an eye on you. It’s his job. Because of our prior connection I owe it to you to make sure you are okay.” Tobias explained.
I winced as he labeled our once seemingly intense love as a mere connection before turning away from him. “I am fine. You can go.”
Jimmy looked up at Tobias sympathetically. It was obvious he felt bad for Tobias. The man who had played with my heart like it was fiddle.
“Very well.” Tobias muttered. The door opened and closed.
“Well that was awkward.” Jimmy noted. “He’s worried. Like I am.”
“I’m fine.” I whispered, although unsure I was in fact fine.
The doctor arrived 15 minutes later. He walked in holding a folder and placed it on the end of the bed where I sat.
“Miss Moritz.” He exclaimed
“Yes.” I replied.
“I’m Doctor Watts, The nurse mentioned you fainted earlier. Have you been feeling light headed?”
I swallowed and shrugged, Even though I had been, the last thing I wanted was bad news.
“Ruby.” Jimmy warned.
I rolled my eyes and nodded. “Yes.”
“A little I guess.” I lied.
“She hasn’t eaten more than a piece of toast in the past week. She’s barely able to keep water down.”
The doctor made a ‘hmm’ sound before walking toward me. I glared at Jimmy, more than annoyed, but he didn’t seem at all bothered by the fact. The doctor checked my temperature, and my breathing as well as my blood pressure.
“Everything seems fine so far Miss Moritz. Because I can tell you’re dehydrated and you’ve already had a fainting spell I’m going to admit you so we can administer some fluids. I’ll run some blood tests and scans if we need to.”
“You think there is something wrong?” I swallowed nervously. Fear rolled through me, and suddenly I wished I hadn’t sent Tobias away. Doctor Watts smiled and placed his hand on my shoulder.
“Other than a little malnourishment, I think you’re healthy. The tests will let us know more though. Try not to fret.”
He left the room and Jimmy stood up. “I’m going to go get a coffee.” He exclaimed.
“Don’t lie to me Jimmy.” I whispered. “I’ve had my fill of liars.”
JImmy frowned and sat on the edge of the bed. “He’ll want to know you’re okay.”
“He saw me. He knows I’m okay.”
Jimmy nodded and walked back to his seat. “Okay, I won’t call him.”
A nurse arrived a short while later. After she made me change into one of the hideous hospital gowns. She found a vein and placed a lure in my arm. I’d watched my father be poked and prodded so many times he could have doubled as a pin cushion. She filled four vials with my blood before connecting a tube to the lure. I traced the tube, up until I noted a large clear bag filled with liquid above my head.
“The results will be back in an hour or so, use the buzzer if you need anything.”
I nodded and watched her as she left.
“What if I have what he had.” I said softly. “What if I’m sick Jimmy.”
Jimmy looked up at me and furrowed his brow. “You think you have cancer?”
“I’ve been feeling unwell for weeks. Since before Tobias left…..” I stopped, even though it had been two weeks I still couldn’t vocalize it. “I fainted… last week… in the shower.”
Jimmy’s eyebrows raised and his mouth fell open. “Ruby, why didn’t you say anything?”
I looked down and closed my eyes. “I’m scared.”
I felt Jimmy’s weight settle on the bed. “You’re going to be fine Ruby, with the stress of everything you’ve just not been looking after yourself.”
“Jimmy, can I have a few moments?” I whispered tearfully.
“Of course.” He replied. He stood up and placed his hand on my shoulder. “I’ll go get a coffee. For real this time.”
He left the room and I pulled the cotton sheet up and over my body. I was dozing off when the door opened again.
“Ruby.” Tobias voice roused me, waking me instantly from my sleepy state.
“I told you to go.” I whispered dryly.
“I can’t.” Was all he offered. “I did this to you.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks and I bit my lip. As easy it would’ve been to blame the way I was feeling on Tobias, I hadn’t been feeling well for a while. Tobias sat down where Jimmy had been sitting earlier. He looked ten different kinds of tormented and I hated it. I sighed and shook my head.
“No… you didn’t.”
“Jimmy said you’re not eating, or sleeping much. He told me he caught you crying in the coffee room behind your office. I hurt you. I’m so sorry.”
I frowned, Jimmy was a friend, of both of us… I couldn’t fault him for talking to Tobias about me, especially when he’d told me things too. He was the piggy in the middle, and it wasn’t fair on him, but they both had it all wrong, well apart from the crying. That was due to my broken heart.
“Don’t inflate your ego.” I mumbled. “I haven’t been able to eat or sleep because I physically feel ill. Not because I’m lost without you.”
Even if I was lost without him, it wasn’t the reason I was here.
Tobias eyes tracked up my body until finally they locked with my own. Lost in his gaze was where I wanted to be, but it hurt to look at him and know he didn’t feel the same. I turned my head and looked down at my entwined fingers. Tobias went to speak, but before he could get a word out the door opened.
Doctor Watts walked in and placed the folder down. He smiled and checked on the drip in my arm.
“We’re still waiting on the other results, but some have come back… and I think we have a reason for the fainting spells and other symptoms.” He looked over at Tobias and then back at me “Do you want privacy?” He murmured.
Tobias went to stand, preempting my answer before I said anything. I shook my head. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Tobias mouth curled up slightly and his eyes connected with mine. He had an unreadable expression plastered on his face, and while I wanted to know what it meant I was too exhausted to decipher it.
“You have an elevated level of HCG in your blood.”
My stomach rolled and nausea gripped me. I tried to remember what HCG was, I’d learned to work out what my fathers results meant. Platelets and neutrophils I understood, HCG sounded familiar, but I wasn’t sure what it was or what it meant.
“It’s a hormone the female body makes when pregnant.” The doctor continued. “It can also indicate other issues… but we’ll organise a scan to be sure.”
“Pregnant?” I mumbled… “But i’m on the pill…” I glanced over at Tobias whose face was as white as a ghost.
“The pill isn’t 100%.” He offered. “I’ll organise a scan, and once we know for sure I’ll let you know what options are available”
I nodded numbly as he picked up the folder and left.
I stared at a loose thread on the blanket, completely dumbfounded by the revelation.
Tobias was unnaturally silent too. I mustered up the courage to look up at him again only to find him looking back at me.
“It’s okay.” I whispered. “If I am… I know you don’t want this. I don’t expect anything from you.”
He licked his lips and shook his head. “Ruby. I… I made a mistake.”
“You don’t have to say anything out of some weird sense of honor… Tobias. I’m giving you an out.”
His eyes hardened and he stood up. “What if I don’t want an out.” He moved closer to me. “What if I’m right where I want to be.”
My breath was hot in my throat and I tried to diffuse the situation and my emotions with humor. “What in a hospital…”
Tobias half smiled and dipped his head. “No… Ruby, with you.”
“I… I… I can’t begin to explain myself.” He continued.
“I’m confused. You said… all those things, you sent me away.”
This was all too much, I couldn’t figure anything out. I wanted to run from the room, from Tobias, from the possible pregnancy. I wanted to find a rock and hide under it… but I was stranded, stuck in a room, forced to confront everything all at once.
“I know… I-” Tobias phone went off, his face fell dark as he pulled it from his pocket. He closed his eyes and angrily swiped it shut, shoving it back into his pocket. “I have to go.”
I didn’t want him to leave, even though being around him was confusing and painful, I preferred it to being alone. Especially when everything was so up in the air.
“You’re better off without me.” He exclaimed before stalking passed me.
The door opened and closed with a thud, the violent 180 degree change in Tobias had left me with emotional whiplash.